It has been a while since I have shot with a Yashica SLR. My experience with them to this point, was with the older M-42 screw-mount cameras, most notably the TL Electro X.
I recently came into possession of a very nice and refurbished Yashica FX-7 Super. I certainly wasn't looking to expand into the realm of Contax/Yashica mount cameras (C/Y), but this one looked so beautiful that I had to have it for a while and try it out. After doing some online research, I discovered that the FX series of cameras were made by Chinon (who also made the Canon T-60, Nikon FM-10, and numerous other low-end 35mm SLRs). This is after Kyocera took on the Yashica brand. I used to own a (Kyocera) Contax G1 rangefinder, and while it had many attributes that I liked, it was slow with the AF, and the top LCD was exhibiting bleeding. However, the Zeiss Planar 45mm T* lens was excellent.
With Kyocera taking on the Contax marque, they of course, released some very fine 35mm SLRs under the Contax name, all with lovely Zeiss T* lenses. Meanwhile, the Yashica bodies, aimed for a lower price point, came with Yashica-branded lenses. Mine has Yashica ML 50mm f/2. The beauty is that the two brands shared the same C/Y mount, meaning that a lightweight, inexpensive body could have a fine Planar T* lens on it. That is certainly one attraction for the FX bodies.
My FX-7 Super has been recovered in dark blue leatherette by a previous owner, and new foam seals installed. The camera is in excellent condition. As a small SLR, it has the following features:
- Shutter speeds - B, 1 - 1/1000 sec.
- Flash Sync Speed - 1/125th sec
- Top deck shutter release with threads for remote
- Self-timer [10 sec]
- Hot shoe with extra control contact
- molded hand grip on right side
- +/- LEDs for exposure indication in viewfinder
- manual exposure mode only
- viewfinder with center focus spot - split-mage microprism
- requires 2 LR-44 cells for meter only
- half-press of shutter release activates meter
- Through-the-lens, full-aperture center weighted light metering with SPD cell
- ISO range of 12-1600 set on shutter speed dial
- 52mm filter thread on the lens with this body.
- tripod socket centered on the bottom
This is a fairly basic set of features, but in practical use, it's all you really need to take photos. The camera body has no sharp edges, and it is nice to hold. Its fairly quiet copal square vertical metal shutter sounds "snappy". The camera weighs just over a pound, and it really is a joy to use.
There are lots of sites with information on the FX-3 and FX-7 series, and I am not going to repeat it all here. One feature they all share is the discussion on the disintegration of the leatherette. If you have one, you would be wise to recover it, and I have to say that the navy blue on mine is gorgeous.
This is an all-manual SLR camera that is compact, precise in operation, and everything is located just right. It makes a Pentax K1000 seem like a cloddish camera. I have been carrying it around with me for a few weeks now, and it's definitely going places. The 50mm f/2 lens is just fine, and maybe in the future I will acquire a Zeiss T* 50mm lens for it. For now though, it's all I need.
Here are a smattering of b&w images taken in NJ and MI, and I have to say that the camera works great. I can recommend this camera to anyone looking for a manual SLR that is lightweight and of relatively recent manufacture (mid-1980s). While the Yashica C/Y mount may not have as many lenses and accessories as the Nikon/Canon/Pentax/Olympus systems, you will find the lenses that you need for most types of shooting. Aside from the Yashica and Contax brands, there are lenses from Tamron (Adaptall-2), Soligor, Sigma, and others that have the C/Y mount.
|Mat, hotel room, expired Plus-X|
|Mike's hula girl, expired Plus-X|
|hydrant, expired Plus-X|
|Mike Raso, expired Plus-X|
|shadows on steps, Tasma NK-2|
|Ann Arbor Subraru, Tasma NK-2|
|Argo trestle, Tasma NK-2|
|somewhere in Ohio on I80, in the rain, Tasma NK-2|